Oxford School District earns continuing accreditation

Published 10:30 am Monday, August 13, 2018

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement has awarded Oxford School District with continuing accreditation for the next five years.

SACS CASI is a division of AdvancED that provides nationally recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance, according to a recent news release.

“Accreditation demonstrates to our students, parents and community that we are focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation staffed by highly qualified educators,” OSD Superintendent Brian Harvey said.

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To earn accreditation, schools must meet SACS CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school and implement a continuous process of school improvement. Accreditation is granted on a five-year term.

SACS CASI accreditation is recognized across state lines, which is intended to not only ease the transfer process as students move from accredited school to accredited school, but also assures parents that the school is meeting nationally accepted standards for quality and successful professional practice, according to a statement from OSD.

SACS CASI is a non-governmental, voluntary agency that accredits nearly 13,000 public and non-public institutions throughout the world.  

“SACS CASI Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners,” Dr. Mark Elgart, President and CEO of AdvancED, said in a news release. “Oxford School District is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

Accreditation evaluation is divided into three domains, each identifying a different aspect of education. Within each domain, standards are rated according to how well the district meets expectations: needs improvements, emerging, meets expectations and exceeds expectations. Out of 31 standards, 23 were ranked as exceeds expectations, five were ranked as meets expectations and three were ranked as emerging. There were no standards ranked as needing improvements.

Another aspect of accreditation is the Index of Educational Quality, or IEQ. IEQ rankings range from 100 to 400, and OSD scored 370.07 overall.

The accreditation engagement review report, which provides a comprehensive evaluation of SACS CASI’s findings, highlighted several areas where OSD improved over the last five years of accreditation, but cited that work was still needed to fully address the issues with achievement gaps among African-American and white students, and socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged students.

However, it’s nothing that can’t be improved upon, the report said.

“(OSD) exemplifies a system that has made a commitment to continuous improvement. In order to reach the system’s full potential, there is a need to implement systematic processes to improve teaching and learning,” the report said. “Differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all students and increasing the rigor in some classrooms will enhance teaching effectiveness and improve overall student achievement. Providing additional opportunities for non-college bound students will also help meet the needs of some students that currently may not be achieving at the level expected by stakeholders.”